A Baseball Weblog

Monday, May 2, 2011

Quick f/x: Villarreal and Alburquerque

The Yankees will begin a series tonight in Detroit against the slumping Tigers. The brilliant Bartolo Colon is scheduled to take the mound against Justin Verlander. I did a preview of Verlander's stuff here on Opening Day, so check that out if you feel like it. So today, I'd instead like to look at two young relievers who have been impressing out of the Tiger bullpen recently: Brayan Villarreal (24 years old next week) and Al Alburquerque (24 until June). Some generic rate stats for both of them:

#K RateBBHBP RateSwing RateWhiff RateZone RateGB RateRV+xRV+
The two "plus" stats at the end are the run values, actual and expected, that I typically use, except they're put on a 100 scale with 100 being the theoretical league average.  I say "theoretical" because these run values I'm using are out of date, so it's skewing the numbers a little bit.

Both guys could be defined as power-pitchers given that they miss bats (especially Alburquerque) and throw hard.  Villarreal slings it from a three-quarters slot, while Alburquerque comes from over the top.  They both throw a fastball, sinker, and slider and average 94-95 mph with their heaters.  Villarreal's slider is hard, averaging 87 mph.  Alburquerque's is at 84 and gets about two more inches of "drop" than Villarreal's does.  For now, it would appear that Villarreal's best pitch is his four-seamer and Alburquerque's is his slider.  Some metrics by pitch type:

#Swing RateWhiff RateZone RateChase RateWatch RateBall Rate

So while batters have made contact on every swing off of Alburquerque's fastball, they have missed 23 out of 31 times against his slider. Wow. Also notice that Alburquerque is throwing his slider a lot more than his fastball.  Positively Marmolian.  

Joaquin Benoit has not been good at all after signing a big contract to be the team's eighth inning pitcher (sound familiar?), and I can't help but wonder if these guys will start getting some of Benoit's innings soon.

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